Many poor children in Cambodia miss out on opportunities for growth and development. They lack nutrition and access to schools and health facilities. The American Red Cross, in its first visit to Cambodia in 10 years, hopes to raise awareness of these problems. Manilene Ek has the report, and Sokha Chea translates.
The American Red Cross will send a delegation to Cambodia later this month to help raise awareness of nutrition and health education, a Red Cross official said.
This trip is the first of its kind in 10 years and will be attended by a small group of donors, officials and Hollywood celebrity Elizabeth Rohm, to observe first hand the situation faced by children and families living with HIV and AIDS, said Carol Miller, a Red Cross spokeswoman.
“Cambodia has the highest child morbidity and mortality rates in the world and the areas where American Red Cross supports health programming in Cambodia- is one of the hardest hits in Southeast Asia,” Miller said.
The Red Cross provides programs to train parents, teachers, caregivers and community leaders to identify and prevent sickness, and in the case of serious illnesses, to get a patient to a hospital in time.
“A lot of it has to do with lack of access to health facilities already existing either they might be too far away or it might be a real hardship for parents to leave their jobs during the day to access those services for their children.” Miller said.
The Red Cross also provides education about food and health, which is important to children as they grow.
“Children, if they are not properly nourished they can’t concentrate at schools. So, this is going to help them for a lifetime to come, as well as their country and their communities. By making sure the kids have the adequate nutrition they need while they are young, then they can develop properly,” Miller said.
In Cambodia, the project has benefited more than 33,500 children under the age of 5, in addition to 52,700 women. In Vietnam, the project helped more than 50,000 school children and 40,000 families.
The delegation will travel to Vietnam April 22 to April 26 and Cambodia April 26 to April 28.
People interested in donating or volunteering can go to the Web site at www.redcross.org or they can contact their local Red Cross units.